The Ultimate Grazing Table

November 6, 2023  •  Appetizers,

In late January, my partner and I took off to spend nine weeks in Southern Italy so I could establish my residency in order to obtain my dual citizenship. It was the culmination of a four year effort, and I published a collection of essays about that incredible experience. But before we left, we hosted a blow out party for friends and family.I wanted to be able to spend time with everyone who came to see us off, so didn’t want to be tied up in the kitchen at all. I also wanted food that would pretty much sit out all evening and be fine. Enter the concept of a grazing table, which is nothing more than an oversized charcuterie tray.I have an 8 foot island in my kitchen that I originally designed for teaching cooking classes. For the grazing table I cleaned and sanitized the granite then laid sheets of parchment paper down that I taped under the counter edges to hold in place.To lay out the food, I started with cuts of meat and cheese slices, laying them down in winding paths, then continued with other cheeses, vegetables, fruits, nuts and more. Put dips and nuts and condiments like mustard into small bowls. I put only the gluten free crackers onto the grazing table itself and put those with gluten into the bowls on the side to protect guests with special needs. I gathered all of the sweets at the far end as a “finishing course”. If you decide to do this for your next party, give yourself time, Even with a plan laid out ahead of time it took me over an hour to lay all the food out. But it was so worth the effort – everyone was blown away by the grazing table and it was a perfect send off for our trip!

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